Monday, October 8, 2007

A few of my favorite things

Like many people who use this kind of communication forum, I've discovered that I'm writing more about what's irking me than what I enjoy. That's to be expected I guess, but I'm sure my two or three readers out there would like to hear something positive for a change. So with that in mind, here are some things that make me happy.

If it weren't obvious already, given the great cassette tape archival project mentioned earlier, I spend a great deal of time listening to music. My tastes are eclectic and rather unusual for a nerdy guy like me. I really don't like anything that sounds like it came out of a computer or on dead space on the shortwave band. Yes, folks, at least one techie that isn't into techno or related genres. Some people would say I'm kind of stuck in the early 60s, but I also like ragtime and solo piano, we've already established my admiration of The Partridge Family, and I even have The Union Underground's " education in rebellion" in my CD collection. I have loads of pop-Country from the '80s like Kathy Mattea and Jennifer McCarter & The McCarters. I don't sing or dance (not into either, probably just as well), but can listen intensely to whatever's playing on the MP3 or CD player.

Likewise I also enjoy watching movies. Most of what I like most are comedies, and even better would be comedies with meaning. I think Real Genius is pure genius - one of the great movies of all time. Likewise, Amelie (real title Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) was entirely enjoyable and I was shocked when I found out that I was one of the few who hadn't seen it. Then there are some odd favorites such as Ghost World and The Unbelievable Truth that really fall into that category of comedies with meaning. Finally, L.A. Story is a truly great romantic comedy (I won't bother explaining why - just see it). For some more lighthearted "B" movies (okay, maybe "C" or "D" too...) try 100 Women or Sexy Movie. I've seen more movies than I can remember.

My favorite TV programs are as varied as my musical and movie interests. I enjoy The Simpsons, South Park, and Robot Chicken but also CSI, Lingo (on the Game Show Network), various cooking shows on the Food TV channel, and various shows on The Discovery Channel or The Learning Channel.

To get away from things in Austin, I'll take mini road-trips out to various places. Usually, I don't have any real destination in mind - I just enjoy seeing trees and countryside rather than big concrete structures. While I can't say I'm really much of an outdoorsy person (definitely not a rugged outdoor type), I am definitely not a city person. If I could, I would be living in a subterranean or cave home out in a less densely populated area (I hesitate to say "rural" because I like living near people, just not so close).

I like going out to eat just about any type of food. The two caveats are that the location is non-smoking and that I don't need to dress-up at all. Eating out, for me, is to relax and enjoy myself, and having to worry about dress is just not relaxing. If I can't come in jeans and a plaid shirt (my official geek uniform), then it probably isn't the place for me. Good Italian food and Texas BBQ is heaven.

I generally enjoy being with animals, with a preference for cats. I volunteer at the Austin Humane Society as a "cat socializer" which is very fun (excluding the politics there). My own cat is a 16 year old Siamese mix. He manages to tolerate his unusual human.

Finally, as the name of this "blog" implies, I'm an avid computer enthusiast that gets to do this stuff for a living as well. My interests are mostly in computer networking and communications, but I've done various things with computers over the years. Anyone who knows me also knows I'm also a big supporter of the Open Source movement. I strongly feel that it's morally wrong for companies to control or own the technology that allows people to communicate. Innovation can't happen without an open platform on which to develop. So while many people get excited about seeing movies through their computer, I'm usually getting my hands dirty at a lower level figuring out how to make bits flow better. Lately I haven't been doing much of this as a hobby as I once did because my job keeps me plenty busy. But I still enjoy what I do (usually) and have an unusual home set-up.

So that's a small piece of what gets me excited. There is, of course, a lot more to know, but I'll leave that for later...

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